Public Hearing on Special Events Ordinance Held in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Public Hearing on Special Events Ordinance Held in Sussex County

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 5:43 PM Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- After a power outage postponed the previously schedule public hearing, Sussex County Council held a public hearing on Tuesday over a new Special Events Ordinance.

The ordinance clarifies what constitutes a special event and puts in a new framework for approving such events. County employees have been working on the ordinance after it came to light that the current ordinance may not be legally defensible. 

"Our focus shifted not to an event, but how do we work with people who are planning events with a code that's really vague," says Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson.

According to Tuesday's presentation ahead of public testimony, the new ordinance would define a special event as things like a fair or concert or other "mass gathering" that's held outdoors, within a temporary structure, or on a site for a purpose different than its permitted use and usual occupancy. As such, special events could be limited to three per year, something that venue owner Christian Hudson has a problem with.

"It would hurt non profits, it would hurt us and it would hurt Sussex County," he says. "This is anti-economic development, this is anti-community and its anti-quality of life for the vast
majority of Sussex County."

In the past, Hudson has said that having to pick and choose just three events per year could eliminate some community events that aren't profitable.

The new ordinance would still allow the county's planning and zoning director to review and approve special event applications, with a new criteria for decisions based upon factors like size, venue, and impact on neighboring communities.

After three hours of public comment, the Sussex County Council deferred a vote on the ordinance, keeping the record open for another thirty days.

 

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